The Victoria Park Statue project has been controversial from the get-go, with some city councillors supporting it and others vehemently against it. Now public opinion results are in, and an online city survey shows that 79 per cent of 2,441 participants said they do not support the concept.
The survey report included hundreds of comments from survey participants. Below is a sampling of some of the responses.
Though they were in the minority at 21 per cent, supporters of the project offered a variety of reasons for voting yes, including:
- "Fiscally attractive project (given private funding component)+ it's a public park and this theme highlights public leadership (good fit) + the statues would be positive and inspiring and help support Kitchener's profile as a great city to visit and live in."
- "Mount Rushmore is too much. Statues is just right."
- "I bet the general population can name less than a quarter of the Canadian Prime Ministers. This would be a history lesson for all out city's citizens!"
For those against the project, aesthetics and taste of the project were called into question:
- "Entirely inappropriate for neighbourhood, for location. Aesthetically unappealing, clutter, non-representative of our current Canada, or even the city. Terrible idea all around."
- "It would ruin Victoria Park and doesn't properly represent Kitchener - a multicultural and diverse community!"
Among the 71 per cent of respondents who said cost was the main reason they didn’t support the project, many made suggestions as to what the proposed $300,000 in city funding for the $2 million project could be used for:
- "I'd like to see an art project related more to my city and my city's history, and something other than statues, which will look offputting and likely be prone to vandalism."
- "I think this is a waste of money - we don't need to idolize people from the past...we need to spend money on change in the present and future. For example solar panels and renewable energy, housing, etc. Thanks."
- "This project diverts funds that are badly needed for the arts, education, and community welfare - these statues carry diminishing returns. There are much better ways to commemorate Canada's 150th with the funds proposed, perhaps by investing in our future in order to carry on the Canadian dream? This project is pure vanity, and it's a slap in the face when projects more vital to the community are not up to par."
And then there were these suggestions on what the city should do with project money:
- "It should be spent on putting more Taco Bells around the city. "
- "fix the boat house/ OR GET A ROBOCOP STATUE."